With Christmas a distant memory, January is often perceived to be the most depressing month of the year. In fact, Blue Monday (the third Monday in January), is the most depressing day of the year—the weather’s grim and people are feeling the pinch in their pockets.

So, to make a positive start to 2018, here’s how to help staff beat the January blues.

Thank your staff

January is the perfect time to thank staff for their hard work over the previous year. Highlight and boast about staff achievements, congratulate those who have achieved long service, and set out this year’s objectives.  

You’ll make your people feel like you appreciate them and will focus minds on the coming year by encouraging them to think about how they can contribute.

Improve work culture

January is often the time of the “new year, new me” resolution, so help your staff achieve their goals and encourage a healthier and happier workforce.

Outline the development and promotion opportunities within your business. Such transparency helps employees set clear career progression goals.

And, if you have a slightly larger or high-performing business, you could contribute towards the health and wellbeing of staff with in-house exercise classes, gym memberships, or free fresh fruit and healthy drinks.

Incentivise staff

Incentives help staff focus on work in a fun and competitive environment. The more fun you make it, the less employees will focus on the work aspect and, instead, aim to win. You could offer prizes to staff who hit specific targets—you don’t have to spend a lot, either.

The best kind of prizes add value to the incentive to encourage a positive mood so people buy into the scheme. For example, awarding half an hour’s holiday leave will likely spur staff on more than a box of chocolates.

Prevent presenteeism

Although you want your full workforce present at all times, having staff come into work while ill could have a negative impact on others. Sick staff who work take longer to get back to full health, can spread the illness to others and will be in a bad mood.

Don’t apply your absence procedures so strictly that employees feel they can’t take time off to recover properly, so set appropriate trigger points for taking disciplinary action.

End the month on a high

Plan an event to take place at the end of January to help create an encouraging mood during the month. This could be a social event, such as workplace drinks or a free lunch on the last day of the month. Or, if that’s too expensive, how about another appreciation event where you thank everyone as a collective for their hard work during the month?